SHAPING A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE April Rosenblatt “I’m fat. I’m too skinny. I’d be happy if I were taller, shorter, had curly hair, had straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles, longer legs…” Does that sound like you sometimes? Does it sound like your friends? INTRODUCTION According to the National Eating Disorders Association, body image is what one believes about their physical appearance and how one feels about their body. For most people body image is tied to self esteem. Having a good body image is more based on your thoughts then your body or body shape When body image is healthy, it is positive, appreciative and reasonably accurate. Negative body image involves inaccurate self-perception, shame and negative selfjudgment, which can lead to a variety of problems, including disordered eating and depression. By taking steps to improve your body image, you'll increase your chances of physical and emotional health and fulfillment. EATING DISORDERS Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder Eating Disorders Statistics • Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S. • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness• Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. • 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8 • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate associated with all causes of death for females 15-24 years old. • An estimated 2 to 5 percent of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period. • An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male • Men are less likely to seek treatment for eating disorders because of the perception that they are “woman’s diseases.” • Among gay men, nearly 14% appeared to suffer from bulimia and over 20% appeared to be anorexic. • Men and boys who are dissatisfied with their bodies are at risk of using more performance enhancing drugs and anabolic steroids. HOW IS OUR BODY IMAGE SHAPED?? Most people compare themselves to their peers, friends, actors and celebrities or pictures in magazines. The dangerous thing about this is that most of the images we are exposed to are altered and unrealistic. It becomes impossible for the person to see themselves as looking “right.” Media, Perception, Dieting: • 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight within 5 years which keeps them in a vicious cycle of self hate. • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders. • The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females. • 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures. • 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat CRYSTAL RENN FROM ANOREXIA SUFFERER TO PLUS SIZE SUPER http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sfhlo80doK4 MODEL HOW WE CAN IMPROVE BODY IMAGE A healthy body image is essential to your health, happiness and wellbeing. People with a healthy body image are less likely to engage in self-destructive habits. How Can I Improve My Body Image? Improving your body image takes time, and it also involves improving your self-esteem in most cases. The first step involves accepting your body, no matter how big, small, fat or thin it is. THOUGHT STOPPING TECHNIQUE When you have a negative thought about your body, tell yourself to stop (you can visualize a stop sign) and remind yourself of something that you like about yourself or the way you look. oDo Self-affirmations daily! Positive affirmations can be used to reprogram your thought patterns and change the way you think and feel about things. They are short positive statements that can help you focus on goals, get rid of negative, self-defeating beliefs and program your subconscious mind. Here are some examples of positive affirmations related to various areas of personal development. I know, accept and am true to myself. I believe in, trust and have confidence in myself. I eat well, exercise regularly and get plenty of rest to enjoy good health. I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I forgive myself for not being perfect because I know I'm human. I never give up. Stay away from fashion magazines. Let's face it, most fashion and women's magazines focus on an ideal of beauty that is just not something anyone in real-life can be. Surround yourself with positive role models and images. If your circle of friends places emphasis on negative physical standards or judge you on your size or appearance, you will benefit from seeking friends who support you and love you for who you are. Steer clear of magazines that promote unrealistic physical ideals or dangerous fad diet plans. Instead, opt for role models who carry self-respect and literature that nourishes your mind rather than harms it. Go for daily walks. Studies have shown that regular, moderate exercise over a span of six weeks results in improved body image and self esteem. Exercise is also terrific stress relief. Aim for 20 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular activity, three to four times per week. This time set aside for yourself can be a powerful time to reflect on your goals and reap benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Eat healthy and exercise regularly for the right reasons. Studies show those who start a work out to be healthier rather than to lose weight stick with it longer and have more success. Join a team sport or dance team Keep a gratitude journal. When you find yourself expressing negative self-talk, counteract the thoughts by writing positive comments about yourself, your body, people or occurrences in your life. •Set a goal to focus on the positive aspects of your body on a daily basis. Rather than judge your physical shape or size, consider what your body does for you and why you are fortunate to have it. Researchers at the Mayo Health Clinic found that such positive thinking leads to improved physical and mental health, lower stress rates and a longer lifespan. •Remind yourself that the people who truly love you, love you for YOU, not for what you look like. • Remember beauty is skin deep- when you feel good about yourself you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self- acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of how you look physically. Remember... We are all different and we're supposed to be that way. It would be an incredibly boring world if we all looked exactly the same. It's a truly special experience to look around and realize that everyone is beautiful, no matter what size, color or gender they are. There is beauty in everyone, and that includes you!